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Friday, September 18, 2015

Too Good to Not Share!

=====  Thursday's Thought For The Day (Sept. 17, 2015)  =====

                       DEALING WITH CRITICISM

    A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband.  Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.

    "Careful," he said, "CAREFUL!  Put in some more butter!  Oh no!  You're cooking too many at once.  TOO MANY!  Turn them!  TURN THEM NOW!  We need more butter.  Oh no!  WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER?  They're going to STICK!  Careful.  CAREFUL!  I said be CAREFUL!  You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking!  Never!  Turn them!  Hurry up!  Are you CRAZY?  Have you LOST your mind?  Don't forget to salt them.  You know you always forget to salt them.  Use the salt.  USE THE SALT!  THE SALT!"

    The wife stared at him. "What in the world is wrong with you?  You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?"

    The husband calmly replied, "I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."

    Criticism.  We've all experienced it.  Sometimes it is justified, sometimes it is not.  But none of us like it.  No one enjoys being told they are doing something wrong.

    Guy Woods has written, "Inasmuch as criticism is inevitable, we must, in order to be happy, acquire an ability to rise above it.  He who is overly sensitive to the opinions of others is at the mercy of every gossiper of his acquaintance.  Some folks purr like a kitten when stroked by praise; but when criticized, they become resentful, discouraged, and quit.  It is highly essential that everyone discover a technique for dealing with the adverse opinions of others, and use it regularly and effectively."

    Let me offer several brief bits of advice when you are criticized:

(1)  Expect criticism.

    Realize that the more active you are, the more criticism you will receive.  There's an eminent British cabinet officer's wife who is said to have kept this embroidered motto on their living room wall:  "To escape criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing."  Who catches the criticism?  It's the ones who are out there in the middle of things with their sleeves rolled up.

(2)  Criticism can serve a useful purpose.  Learn from it.

    Recognize that some criticisms are certainly deserved.  Even when critics are unkind and when they exaggerate our failures, there may still be some truth in what they say.  So, when faced with criticism, we need to look at the situation honestly and ask these questions:  Is it true?  If so, how can I overcome the condition that caused it?  If not, is there something I can do to eliminate future criticism of the same type?

    "The ear that hears the reproof of life will abide among the wise.  He who disdains instructions despises his own soul, but he who heeds reproof gets understanding." (Proverbs 15:31-32)

(3)  Having gotten any benefit we can from criticism, we need to forget it.

    There are times when people will criticize you and the best thing you can do is just to keep on serving God.  We've got to accept the fact there is no way that unfair criticism can be dealt with.  In a lot of situations, the more you may attempt to answer criticism, the worse the criticism becomes.

    Paul said, "But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court.  In fact, I do not even judge myself.  For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but he who judges me is the Lord." (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

    As we receive criticism in our lives, may God help us to be honest enough and humble enough to look into our hearts and make changes that are necessary, and gracious enough to ignore that criticism which is unfair.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ 
Fayetteville, North Carolina 

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